The Insider

Mar 31, 2003  •  Post A Comment

Three years after NBC and other investors sank $50 million into Lou Dobbs’ Space.com and NBC helped land Mr. Dobbs a daily radio platform, The Insider hears the network has sold back its stake in Space Holding Corp., the multimedia company whose ventures include the Web site launched by Mr. Dobbs in 1999.
At the time, NBC had room to hope there would be content and distribution synergies and that Mr. Dobbs might someday come to work for NBC, because when forced to choose between his cosmic vision for the e-commerce and news site and his 19-year investment in anchoring CNN Moneyline, the anchor blasted off for Space.com.
Then in spring of 2001 Mr. Dobbs went back to CNN and Moneyline, reducing his involvement in Space.com (he’s currently just another member of the board) and leaving NBC with another stake in a company in which it had little interest.
Of course, this isn’t the first time in the past year that NBC has pulled up stakes in partnerships that once seemed hot but would prove to make neither sense nor cents, either because the dot-calmed bubble went pop (iVillage) or because more earthly ventures (the WWF’s short-lived XFL) went plop.
Tale of the `Practice’ Tape
As everybody knows, ABC has pitted The Practice episode featuring guest appearances by CBS honcho Les Moonves and Fox honcho Sandy Grushow against the finals of CBS’s war-torn NCAA basketball championship and near-finals of Fox’s struggling Married by America.
The episode wrapped March 24 and guest-stars Andie MacDowell as a writer with a grievance against Mr. Moonves. Both Mr. Moonves and Mr. Grushow play themselves. Mr. Moonves gets the title, Les Is More, in the episode penned by David E. Kelley, whose drama The Brotherhood of Poland, N.H., is in contention for next season at CBS.
Mr. Moonves, who was an actor before he chose the executive suite life, has multiple scenes and-at least before the episode was edited-two lines. One is more an exclamation than dialogue. Mr. Grushow, who was never an actor, has one scene and a couple of lines.
Both men were described as “consummate professionals” on the set. where Mr. Moonves spent a “grueling” eight hours on a recent Friday, taking calls and even casting the role of the last brother in Brotherhood (Brian Haley) between scenes. Good thing, since the table read for Brotherhood was two days later. Mr. Grushow took no calls and held no auditions between his five takes.